Press Clip Source: IPI Global Observatory
Written By:
Date: April 29, 2015
Read Original Article: Here

In conflict-afflicted South Sudan, displaced women leaving the safety of United Nations protection of civilian sites to gather firewood, food, and water face the threat of rape by soldiers and members of other armed groups. These women routinely have to make difficult choices between providing for their family's sustenance and for their personal safety. Yet, when two or more trained unarmed civilians accompany groups of up to 20-30 women, they have been able to avoid assault.

This is just one example of unarmed civilian protection (UCP), a growing set of methods for protecting civilians and reducing violence in conflict zones. Unarmed civilians trained to implement UCP are recruited from many countries and cultures to live and work with local civil society in conflict-affected areas. A recent study by the Mir Centre for Peace at Canada's Selkirk College found over 50 civil society organizations have applied UCP methods in 35 conflict areas since 1990.

There is also increasing documentation of its effectiveness. An external evaluation of UCP proponent Nonviolent Peaceforce's (NP) work in Mindanao, the Philippines, found that "Armed actors on both sides confirm that the presence of a third party 'watching over them', including NP, has served to temper their behavior." NP [with which the authors are all affiliated] worked with local NGOs to provide daily monitoring of ceasefire violations between the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, intervening in cases where civilians came under threat.

A Northwestern University study of the group Cure Violence's work in the urban setting of Chicago also showed statistically significant results across all communities where UCP had been employed. There were reductions in shootings by 41% and killings by 73%, a fall in shootings in particular hotspots of up to 40%, and the elimination of retaliation killings in five of eight communities surveyed.

UCP can be applied at all stages of a conflict, but can be particularly effective at an early stage, to prevent or mitigate an escalation of violence, and also after violent conflict has subsided, to support the transition to a peaceful society. The approach works in conflict areas where no UN peacekeepers are present, such as Mindanao, Myanmar, and Colombia, and it can also complement the work of UN missions, as in the case of South Sudan.

Unlike traditional military peacekeeping or armed private security firms, UCP is done without the use of, or reliance on, weapons, and is based on prioritizing the building of relationships over the employment of power. These relationships emphasize the achievement of three goals: the direct protection of civilians, violence prevention, and the strengthening of local peace infrastructures.

The elements of unarmed civilian protection.
The elements of unarmed civilian protection.

 

Although organizations implement UCP in a variety of ways, the approaches usually share four key methods. Civilian protectors engage proactively, e.g., by providing protective accompaniment; they monitor, as in the case of ceasefires or escalating tensions; they build relationships, e.g., through local mediation; and they develop local capacity across these other areas. They also share a commitment to non-violence and non-partisanship; an emphasis on key sources of guidance such as international humanitarian law; and employing key skills such as humanitarian negotiating.

UCP methods are selected on a case-by-case basis, depending on the specific needs of the local population, the type of conflict and context, and the mandate and capacity of the implementing organization. This means UCP may look different in each deployment.

In conjunction with a range of other international groups, UCP methods have been pioneered, developed, and refined by civil society organizations such as NP, Cure Violence, Peace Brigades International, and The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Project in Israel and Palestine.

In light of the changing nature of conflicts and human rights abuses, evolving peacekeeping mandates, and the vast unmet need for protecting civilians and preventing violence, the UN could look to formally recognize, support, and employ UCP. This would facilitate more sustainable funding and a greater emergency response capacity. New partnerships could be forged, and existing ones strengthened, such as those with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Development Programme.

UCP is by no means a perfect instrument. It is not always the right tool for every situation, particularly if armed groups are purposely targeting international civilians. It can, however, be highly effective in many circumstances. It is an option that can be used in coordination with UN interventions, or when UN intervention is not forthcoming. If creative and effective approaches such as these could be advanced and expanded, the evidence suggests it would help prevent escalation of violent conflicts and protect those already under threat.

 

Mel Duncan is a Founding Director, Rolf Carriere is a Board Member, and Huibert Oldenhuis is a Trainer, for Nonviolent Peaceforce.

Press Clip Source: The Raven Foundation
Written By: Suzanne Ross
Date: March 31, 2015
Read Original Article: Here - Listen to the interview: Here

We often hear from readers about the difficulties they face advocating for the power of nonviolence in places where faith in violence runs deep. It's especially difficult – and all the more necessary – when the airwaves echo with faith in American firepower to restore peace in places like Syria, Iraq, or Ukraine. Faith in the goodness of America's violence is matched by an equal faith in the wickedness of the violence directed against us.

What's a nonviolent advocate to do?

I suggest that you get the help you need to build your case for nonviolence from Mel Duncan, the founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce (NP). Listen to his interview with Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, two incredible peacemakers in their own right. Beginning at about 16:45 minutes into the recording, you can listen as Mel brings good news straight from conflict zones like South Sudan where unarmed peacekeepers are creating safety for civilians and changing the hearts and minds of combatants. Hear his stories of hope from Syria where NP is supporting the work already being done by women and men leading peace building, human rights and reconciliation work that doesn't make the news. And attached to the end of this article is a report about NP's newest initiative in Ukraine where Raven Foundation is supporting the training of local leaders to operate in conflict zones to provide civilian protection, monitor human rights violations, develop early warning and response systems, and much more.

Mel Duncan and NP are part of the emerging phenomenon taking place around the globe in which unarmed responses to violence are being demonstrated to be more effective and sustainable than any military response. Even the United Nations is getting on board, working with NP to develop online training for unarmed peacekeepers that will enable anyone anywhere to be trained in nonviolent responses in their own communities. This good news is rooted in experience, objectively verifiable, and undeniably powerful. We hope that the good news from NP will help you challenge the persistent depictions of violence as divisible into two types – ours as the good kind and the bad kind wielded by our enemies. There is only one kind of violence because violence can do only one thing: destroy. The power to resolve conflict, to end hatred, and build sustainable peace belongs to nonviolent action. NP is doing the work that proves it for all to see.

If you'd like to be part of the Nonviolent Peaceforce movement, do what you can to spread the word by sharing this post with others. Find out how you can support NPs work directly at their website. And please let us know if this evidence for the power of nonviolence persuaded you or anyone you know.

Press Clip Source: The World Post
Written By: Eli S. McCarthy
Date: March 9, 2015
Read Original Article: Here

worldAnything sound familiar to the recent grumblings about war? The lyrics of "dismantle, defeat, and destroy" continue to resound in our collective discourse and consciousness. Another Authorization of Military Force has been proposed and most of Congress appears to simply be debating the parameters of an AUMF rather than alternatives.

Meanwhile after over seven months of bombing and using our "diplomatic" power to organize more bombing along with cursory efforts at disrupting the financial and human flow to ISIS, the following has occurred. 1) Recruitment has actually increased significantly from a mere 10,000 to upwards of 30-50,000 if not more. Further, groups in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Algeria have identified allegiance to ISIS. 2) Blowback is spreading not only with beheadings but also attacks in France, Denmark and Libya. ISIS itself is part of the predictable line of blowback from the Iraq wars, the war on terror, and the Afghanistan war against the Soviets in the 1980's that spawned the Taliban, Bin Laden, and Al Qaeda. We can draw the exacerbation line back further as well. Even if we "dismantle, defeat, and destroy" ISIS with arms, we will almost certainly exacerbate the bitterness and hostility that will create another similar group or movement. 3) Perhaps, most importantly we are becoming less and less attentive to human dignity and the value of human life, as we waive our human rights laws restricting who we give military aid to, and as we drop our "near certainty" standard for ensuring civilians are not harmed by our bombing.

I along with many other religious leaders have identified specific ways to engage this conflict, with a recent webinar and action alert. One of the key ways is a political track that involves a regional approach including Iran, but also identifying people of influence with members of ISIS. These people can create lines of communication with low, mid and perhaps in time with upper level leaders to identify grievances or needs and seek to peel away support. The reality is that lines of communication have already been happening but in a minimal and peripheral way. Multiple negotiations (ex. with the Peshmerga, Turkey, Jordan, U.S. citizens, etc.) have occurred with ISIS over hostages from different state and non-state actors. Members of ISIS are still human beings. I want to focus on a three key methods which are also not getting adequate public or congressional debate, and should become central parts of the overall strategy.

Read more: ISIS: Nonviolent Resistance?

Press Clip Source: KFAI radio
Interwiever: Tom O'Connell during the show "Truth to tell"
Date: February 23, 2015
Listen Original interview: Here

mel sittingThe Nonviolent Peaceforce organization acts as unarmed civilian peacekeepers to reduce violence and protect civilians in situations of conflict worldwide. Mel Duncan is co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce and last year he was the recipient of the 2014 Honorary Award from the Hawkinson Foundation. Mel came in to KFAI to speak with Truth To Tell’s Tom O'Connell about this organization.  You can hear an exceprt of their converesation here, or listen to the entire program by following this link.

Press Clip Source: UNmissions.com
Written By: UN Mission in South Sudan
Date: February 10, 2015
Read Original Article: Here

pre migration meetingTo boost peaceful co-existence among host and immigrant communities in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal State, representatives of the Dinka Malual and Misseyria tribes today attended a meeting in Warawar town, Aweil East County.

Aimed at disseminating the 2015 pre-migration resolutions to the two communities, the meeting was organized by the non-governmental organization Nonviolent Peaceforce, Warawar Peace Committee and UNMISS.

About 40 participants, including community chiefs, women, religious leaders, local government officials, civil society representatives and members of the organized forces, attended the meeting.

Read more: Communities hold pre-migration meeting in Aweil East County

Press Clip Source: Peace Studies Journal, Volume 7, Issue 3
Written By: Dr. Randy Janzen
Date: December 2014
Read Original Article: Here

Volume 7, Issue 3, December 2014

Guest Editors:

Dr. Laura Finley, Peace and Justice Studies Association
and
David Ragland, Peace and Justice Studies Association

Special Issue:

Courageous Peace:
Exploring Innovative, Diverse, and Inclusive Efforts in Peace, Social Justice and Conflict Studies
____________________________

ARTICLES

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Introduction
Laura Finley and David Ragland
pg. 3 – 5

In Keeping with the Teaching of Scripture”: Jimmy Carter, Religious Faith, and the Search for Peace in the Middle East
D. Jason Berggren
Pg. 6 – 24

Transforming Cultures, Growing Substantive Peace: Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis and a Green Peace
Christopher Hrynkow
Pg. 25 – 38

Target the 90 Percenters: Comedian Todd Glass’s Social Justice Crusade
Ruth Tallman
Pg. 39 – 45

Shifting Practices of Peace: What is the Current State of Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping?
Randy Janzen
Pg. 46 – 60

Talking to Cartels? The Catholic Church’s Response to Drug War Violence in Acapulco
Julie Ethan
Pg. 61 – 74

Dictatorship Declassified: Latin America’s “Archives of Terror” and the Labors of Memory
Betsy Konefal and Silvia R. Tandeciarz
Pg. 75 – 97

“Whose Peace Are We Talking About?” The Need for Critical Gender Analysis in Peace Education
Katherine Fobear
Pg. 98 – 114
Deliberative Dialogue in Support of Peace and Social Justice
Glenn Bowen
Pg. 115 – 127

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BOOK REVIEWS

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Understanding Peace: A Comprehensive Introduction.
Reviewed by Richard Matthews
Pg. 128 – 131

Black Women in Leadership as Peacemakers.
Reviewed by Dannielle Davis and Cassandra Chaney
Pg. 132 – 134

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FILM REVIEW

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Ghosts of Jeju
Reviewed by Regis Tremblay
Pg. 135 – 137

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Press Clip Source: Metta Center for Nonviolence
Written By: Stephanie van Hook
Date: December 14, 2014
Read Original Article: Here

“Armed peacekeepers are 12 times more likely to be killed in the line of duty than unarmed peacekeepers.”

–Randy Janzen sharing some of his research on unarmed peacekeeping on this show…

In today’s show we go into the concept of unarmed peacekeeping and its expression of building a “peace army” or “shanti sena” through nonviolence skills trainings. We are joined by two guests: Randy Janzen, unarmed civilian peacekeeping researcher from the Mir Center for Peace at Selkirk College, Canada; and Kazu Haga, Kingian nonviolence trainer from East Point Peace Academy. Kazu ends the show with a love letter to the listeners, responding to the challenge posed by Thich Nhat Hanh. This and your nonviolence in the news for the week.

Listen to the show for your inspiration for the week.